Rafael Nadal, Barcelona Open 2017

A week after his 10th Monte Carlo title, Rafael Nadal will face Dominic Thiem for a 10th Barcelona title.
Thiem upset world number one Andy Murray in 3 sets to reach his second final of 2017, after his victory in Rio de Janeiro in February. Rafa leads 2-1 in their head-to-head.

Rafael Nadal defeats Horacio Zeballos 6-3 6-4

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Roger Feder, Australian Open 2017
Day 1 – first round

Defending champion Angelique Kerber struggles but gets past Lesia Tsurenko in three sets.
– Number 4 seed Simona Halep is ousted by world number 52 Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1.
– Playing in his first Grand Slam match since he became world number one, Andy Murray defeats Illya Marchenko in straight sets.
Stan Wawrinka and Marin Cilic survive five-set scare against respectively Martin Klizan and Jerzy Janowicz
– In his return to competition, Federer loses a set, but wins his first match since Wimbledon last year.
– Aussie teen Alex De Minaur, making is Grand Slam debut, fought back from a match point down to beat Gerald Melzer in a five-set marathon.

Day 2 – first round

– World number 2 Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic are safely through to second round despite challenging first round matches -on paper. 6-4 6-3 for Serena over Belinda Bencic, 6-1 7-6 6-2 for Djokovic over Fernando Verdasco.
– No trouble for Rafael Nadal who cruises past Florian Mayer 6-3 6-4 6-4. He next faces 2006 runner-up Marcos Baghdatis.
– Big troubles on the contrary for David Goffin who needs five sets to defeat young American Reilly Opelka.
– Playing in his 60th consecutive Grand Slam tournament, number 28 seed Feliciano Lopez lost to Fabio Fognini in straight sets.
– 37-year-old Ivo Karlovic fired 75 aces! to overcome Horacio Zeballos in a five-set marathon 6-7 3-6 7-5 6-2 22-20.

Day 3 – second round

– Another hard-fought win for world number one Angelique Kerber who defeats fellow German Carine Witthoeft 6-2 6-7 6-2. She’s turning 29 today.
– Garbine Muguruza booked her place in the third round with a clean 7-5 6-4 win over Samantha Crawford.
Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka cruise into the third round with straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Steve Johnson.
Andreas Seppi rallies from 2 sets down, saves a match point and downs Kyrgios 1-6 6-7 6-4 6-2 10-8.
– Like Seppi, Mischa Zverev came back from the dead to defeat John Isner 6-7 6-7 6-4 7-6 9-7.
– Sydney runner-up Dan Evans registers the biggest win of his career so far with a four-set victor over Marin Cilic.
– Matches to follow on day 4:
Naomi Osaka – Johanna Konta
Lucie Safarova – Serena Williams
Marcos Baghdatis – Rafael Nadal
Radek Stepanek -David Goffin
Benoît Paire – Fabio Fognini

Australian Open draw

Only two days to go to the first Slam of the season! Who do you think will win? Check out her Australian Open 2017 preview:

Men’s draw:

Contenders:

Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic are once again the big favorites for the title.
5-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray, who begins his campaign on Monday against 93-ranked Ilya Marchenko, has a quite easy route to the quarterfinals where he could meet Kei Nishikori or Roger Federer.
Novak Djokovic will launch his bid for a record seventh Australian Open title with a challenging first round match against Fernando Verdasco, who missed 5 match points against the Serb in Doha last week. Grigor Dimitrov could wait in the fourth round, before a clash against Dominic Thiem in the quarters.
The only two other players who could, in my opinion, capture the title this year are Stan Wawrinka and Milos Raonic. Unpredictable on the ATP tour, Wawrinka is always consistent come Grand Slam time; while Raonic has improved a lot in the last year and is not a one-weapon only player anymore.

Players to watch:

Rafael Nadal struggled to get back to form since his injury, but had a decent start of the season with a win at the Abu Dhabi exhibition and a quarterfinal in Brisbane. He could face Alexander Zverev in the third round, Gaël Monfils in the fourth round and Milos Raonic in the quarterfinals.

Roger Federer will play for the first time since last year’s Wimbledon. Seeded 17, he has not won a Slam title since Wimbledon 2012. He could face Tomas Berdych in the third round, and then Kei Nishikori and Andy Murray.

Projected quarterfinals:

Andy Murray [1] – Kei Nishikori [5]
Stan Wawrinka [4] – Marin Cilic [7]
Gaël Monfils [6] – Milos Raonic [3]
Dominic Thiem [8] – Novak Djokovic [2]

First round matches to watch:

Nicolas Almagro – Jérémy Chardy
Jerzy Janowicz – Marin Cilic [7]
Dustin Brown – Milos Raonic [3]
Tommy Haas – Benoît Paire
Fabio Fognini – Feliciano Lopez [28]
Fernando Verdasco – Novak Djokovic [2]

Click here for the full men’s draw

Who will be the 2017 Australian Open champion?

  • Someone else (26%, 29 Votes)
  • Novak Djokovic (25%, 28 Votes)
  • Rafael Nadal (24%, 27 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (16%, 18 Votes)
  • Stan Wawrinka (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Milos Raonic (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Kei Nishikori (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Dominic Thiem (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Tomas Berdych (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Gaël Monfils (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Marin Cilic (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 113

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Women’s draw:

Contenders:

Unlike the men’s draw, there is no clear favorite in the women’s draw, and it seems anything could happen.
Angelique Kerber had a dream season last year, with two Grand Slam titles and the world number one spot. She opens up her title defence with a match-up against Lesia Tsurenko and could play reigning Roland Garros champion Garbine Muguruza in the quarterfinals.
Serena Williams, who suffered a shock defeat to Madison Brengle in Auckland last week, will be chasing Grand Slam title number 23. Like Novak Djokovic, she will face a tough test in the first round: former world number 7 Belinda Becic.
The ever consitent Agnieszka Radwanska could finally win her maiden Slam title, while Karolina Pliskova and Garbine Muguruza will be looking to confirm their stand-out 2016 season.

Players to watch:

Finalist here in 2014, Dominika Cibulkova claimed her biggest title last October: the WTA Finals. She will look to pick up where she left off last year.

A surprising semifinalist last year, Johanna Konta reached the top ten since then, and won Sydney title, dismantling Radwanska in the final. She could do some damage in the draw.

Like Cibulkova, Svetlana Kuznetsova finished 2016 in great form. On a good day, she can beat anyone.

First round matches to watch:

Louisa Chiricio – Eugenie Bouchard
Mona Barthel – Destanee Aiava
Laura Siegemund [26] – Jelena Jankovic
Ana Konjuh – Kristina Mladenovic
Heather Watson – Sam Stosur [18]
Tsvetana Pironkova – Agnieszka Radwanska [3]
Kirsten Flipkens – Johanna Konta [9]
Yanina Wickmayer – Lucie Safarova
Belinda Bencic – Serena Williams [2]

Projected quarterfinals:

Angelique Kerber [1] – Garbine Muguruza [7]
Simona Halep [4] – Svetlana Kuznetsova [8]
Karolina Pliskova [5] – Agnieszka Radwanska [3]
Dominika Cibulkova [6] – Serena Williams [2]

Click here for the full women’s draw

Who will be the 2017 Australian Open champion?

  • Serena Williams (35%, 15 Votes)
  • Angelique Kerber (23%, 10 Votes)
  • Garbine Muguruza (12%, 5 Votes)
  • Karolina Pliskova (12%, 5 Votes)
  • Someone else (7%, 3 Votes)
  • Dominika Cibulkova (5%, 2 Votes)
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova (5%, 2 Votes)
  • Agnieszka Radwanska (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Simona Halep (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Johanna Konta (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Carla Suarez Navarro (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 43

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Photo credit: Australian Open instagram

Angelique Kerber, winner of the 2016 US Open
The good

Stan Wawrinka: there’s a new champ in New York. The Swiss struggled to get past the first rounds, losing a few sets here and there and saving a match point in the third round. But he stepped up in the semifinals against Nishikori and outplayed Djokovic in the final. 3 Grand Slam finals, 3 titles.

Stan ✅ Stanimal ✅ Stan the Man ✅ And now #usopen Champion ✅ (?: @dcarrollphoto)

Une photo publiée par @usopen le

Karolina Pliskova: before this tournament, she had not passed the third round in her 17 previous Grand Slams appearances. She took down Venus Williams and top-seeded Serena Williams to reach her first Grand Slam final.

Caroline Wozniacki: she’s two years younger than Kerber but it seems she’s been on the circuit for ever. She beat Svetlana Kuznetsova and Madison Keys en route to the semifinals.

“I came into this tournament ranked No. 74 in the world and probably people ruled me out, but it’s nice to prove people wrong once again.”

Lucas Pouille: he reached the quarterfinals after 5-sets marathon wins over Chiudinelli, Bautista Agut and Rafael Nadal. He seems to be the only French player to have both the game and the attitude. A player to watch out next year.

Laura Siegemund and Mate Pavic: they had never met before this tournament. They teamed up to win the mixed doubles title defeating CoCo Vandeweghe and Rajeev Ram in the final.

“It’s really kind of a blind date.”

Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares: they joined forces at the beginning of the season and won 2 Slam titles (the Australian and US Opens) since then.

The bad

Garbine Muguruza: the French Open champion was knocked out of the tournament by Anastasija Sevastova in the second round.

“Today was just very difficult. Everything I was trying to do she was coming back and doing incredible shots.”

Aga Radwanska: overpowered by 18-year old Ana Konjuh in the quarterfinals. The question is no more “when will she win her maiden Slam” but rather “will she ever win a Slam”.

Andy Murray: beaten by Nishikori in a bizarre match, he seemed mentally tired. He’ll now focus on the Davis Cup semifinals against Argentina.

“I tried my best. I fought as hard as I could with what I had. I didn’t let anyone down — certainly not myself. I pushed myself as hard as I could over the last few months, and I’m very proud of how I have done.”

Milos Raonic: a shock defeat to qualifier Ryan Harrison in the second round. His explanation: cramps due to nervousness, (nervous to play Ryan Harrison?).

Marin Cilic: the 2014 champion looked like a title contender again but surprisingly fell to Jack Sock in the third round.

Gaël Monfils: what on earth was he doing against Novak Djokovic? Not sure he knows it himself. What a waste of talent.

Bernard Tomic: nothing to add.

The queen

She started the year ranked number 10 with a large defeat to Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Brisbane tournament. A couple weeks later she stunned Azarenka and Serena to win the Australian Open.
Fast forward 8 months Angelique Kerber is now the new number one and took home a second Slam trophy.
Is it the beginning of a new era for women’s tennis?

First selfie + ??! Thank you for your overwhelming support ❤#teamangie #nyc? #usopen2016

Une photo publiée par Angelique Kerber (@angie.kerber) le

Photo credit: Satoshi Tsuboi

Kei Nishikori, 2016 US Open

Many people (including me) had made Andy Murray their favorite to win this year’s US Open. And it all started well in his quarterfinal against Kei Nishikori as he won the first set 6-1. But Nishikori rallied from one set down, and then 2 sets to one down to win in 5 sets: 1-6 6-4 4-6 6-1 7-5. What a roller coaster of a match!

Relive the match through Brian’s tweets:

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Andy Murray 2016 US Open outfit

Andy Murray has only lost one set en route to the US Open quarterfinals. He faces Kei Nishikori today for a place in the semifinals where he could meet the winner of the Del Potro – Wawrinka match. Do you think he will win the title this year?

Who will win the 2016 US Open?

  • Novak Djokovic (45%, 62 Votes)
  • Andy Murray (27%, 38 Votes)
  • Rafael Nadal (17%, 24 Votes)
  • Stan Wawrinka (4%, 5 Votes)
  • Someone else (3%, 4 Votes)
  • Gael Monfils (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Kei Nishikori (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Milos Raonic (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Marin Cilic (1%, 1 Votes)
  • Dominic Thiem (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 139

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Check out Andy’s 2016 US Open looks:

Andy Murray 2016 US Open outfit

Andy Murray 2016 US Open outfit

Andy Murray 2016 US Open outfit

Photo credit: Under Armour